European Union agrees to establish joint intelligence training school

6 hours 50 minutes ago

Twenty-five members of the European Union have agreed to establish a joint intelligence training academy, a move interpreted by some as a concrete effort to deepen inter-European security cooperation following Brexit. The announcement came just hours after leading EU heads of state spoke in favor of establishing a joint EU defense force.


African countries lacking decent toilets: Ethiopia bags top spot

14 hours 7 minutes ago

Ethiopia is the worst African country when it comes to lowest access to decent household toilets, a report by the charity WaterAid on the state of the world’s toilet 2018 has noted.

The report released on November 19 – the World Toilet Day – indicated that as at 2015 over 45 million children under 17 were without a decent household toilet. That translated to 93% of the population without at least basic sanitation at home.

“Ethiopia is Africa’s second largest country in terms of population. Drought and famine, combined with a border war with Eritrea, have held back development. The new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has promised peace and order.

“Access to water and sanitation are among the major challenges ahead.27 60% of Ethiopia’s schools don’t have toilets and more than nine in ten people lack this human right at home. However, there is hope for the future.

“The country has made progress in delivering shared toilets in communities and there has been a spike in the number of children completing primary education,” the report said in parts.

Behind Ethiopia, Chad, Madagascar, South Sudan and Eritrea complete the top five slots with 90, 90, 90, 89% respectively in terms of population without at least basic access to sanitation at home (2015).

The top 10 list is completed by Niger 87% at sixth, Benin, Togo and Ghana are tied iun 7th spot with 86% and Sierra Leone 85% at tenth.

“Of the 101 countries with data available on how many schools have decent toilets, Guinea-Bissau on the coast of West Africa comes last. Eight in ten schools lack adequate facilities and almost the same proportion of households don’t have at least basic toilets.

“Only 29% of children complete primary school, which may be in part attributed to high rates of illness, poor facilities, and the inability to attract teachers. Somalia, on the Horn of Africa and long struggling with violence and political instability, is joint fifth.

“Six in ten schools don’t have even limited access to sanitation, and progress towards reaching everyone with decent toilets at home is decreasing. Meanwhile, 5,300 children are dying every year from the related diarrhoea.

The report by WaterAid is titled: The Crisis in the Classroom: The State of the World’s Toilets 2018.

WaterAid’s report, The Crisis in the Classroom: The State of the World’s Toilets 2018, reveals the countries where children are struggling most to access a toilet at school and at home, and highlights those that have made good progress.

It calls on governments to take urgent action to make decent toilets normal not just for children but for everyone everywhere by 2030.



Ex-Ogaden rebels plan return to Ethiopia from base in Eritrea

14 hours 13 minutes ago

The Ogaden National Liberation Front, ONLF, are set to return to Ethiopia on Wednesday, the Voice of America’s Somali service reported on Monday.

Leadership of the group are due to return on Wednesday, November 21, the report said. ONLF spokesperson told the VOA that their forces were going to be airlifted from Asmara to Jijiga, capital of Ethiopia’s Somali Regional State, SRS, on the said date.

The group recently signed a peace deal with the Ethiopian federal government in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, where they have been based.

As part of the deal “The two sides have reached a historical agreement regarding the political rights of the people from Somali Regional State and genuinely addressing the root causes of the conflict between ONLF and the Ethiopian government,” ONLF said in a tweet.

As at the last meeting, there was also the announcement of a joint committee established for further discussions. The government team was led by foreign affairs chief, Workneh Ghebeyehu whiles the ONLF delegation was led by Admiral Mohamed Omar Osman.

The first round of talks between the two parties was in September this year. Months earlier the Ethiopian parliament had struck them off a list of terrorist organizations whiles they also called a ceasefire.

Key facts about the ONLF rebels:

Group was formed in 1984 amid a resurgence of separatist sentiment in the ethnically Somali Ogaden region on Ethiopia’s border with Somalia.
Ethiopia had accused the ONLF of being terrorists supported by Eritrea, and launched a military offensive against the group.
The military action followed a rebel attack on a Chinese-run oil field that killed more than 70 people.
The insurgents’ aims have varied over time, ranging from full-scale independence to joining a “Greater Somalia”, to more autonomy within ethnically diverse Ethiopia.
ONLF fighters, who do not wear uniforms and are estimated to number several thousand.
They take advantage of their close ties with the area’s largely nomadic communities.

After hit-and-run attacks on military convoys, they often melt into villages and hide among herders when counter-attacks are threatened.

About the Ogaden region

The Ogaden region is almost entirely populated by Muslim, Somali-speakers. The region has kept its own distinctive identity, doing the bulk of its trade with Somaliland, Somalia and the Middle East rather than the rest of “highland” Ethiopia.

The separatist cause has been fuelled by widespread resentment at the region’s low level of development.

Until Chinese engineers arrived late last year, the entire region had only 30 km (20 miles) of tarmac road, all of it around the regional capital Jijiga. The area has also been battered by a succession of droughts and floods.



Journalist says Nigeria army has 'twice killed' one Boko Haram leader

14 hours 17 minutes ago

Ahmed Salkida, a Nigerian journalist known for his reporting on terrorism in the Lake Chad region says the Nigerian Army has twice killed one Boko Haram leader.

The Army reported a breaking news on Saturday claiming to have killed one Baban Hassan, a social media chief for a faction of terrorist group, Boko Haram.

But according to Salkida, the death of the said terrorist had been reported by the same army a little over a year ago.

“Dear Nigerian military, you killed Baban Hassan on a Friday night, 3rd November 2017. His death and that of several other leaders of the group was known next day,” he said in a tweet.

“Announcing this as breaking news and linking him with the abduction of Leah Sharibu in November 2018 is preposterous,” he added. Leah Sharibu is the sole hostage held by Boko Haram after a raid on a school in the town of Dapchi earlier this year in Nigeria’s Yobe State.

Reports indicate that Leah, the sole Christian hostage, at the time had refused to revert to Islam, hence the refusal of the terrorists to release her when they returned all the others days after the abduction.

Reacting to Salkida’s rebuttal, most Nigerians chastised the army for playing politics with the country’s security. Some said with the election season looming such reports were suspect.

Others held that the army was used to killing and re-killing citing the case of famed Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau who has been reported death multiple times by the army.

Dear Nigerian military, you killed Baban Hassan on a Friday night, 3rd November 2017. His death and that of several other leaders of the group was known next day. Announcing this as breaking news and linking him with the abduction of Leah Sharibu in November 2018 is preposterous.— Ahmad Salkida (@A_Salkida) November 19, 2018



How Eritrea topped meeting between Djibouti and Ethiopian leaders

14 hours 21 minutes ago

Eritrea was at the center of discussions between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Djiboutian president Ismail Omar Guelleh last Saturday.

According to updates by Abiy’s office, the meeting which was held on the sidelines of the ended 11th African Union Extraordinary Heads of State meeting emphasized on mutual relations between the two countries.

It also stressed the need for Djibouti and Eritrea to solve diplomatic issues between them mutually.

Abiy and Guelleh’s meeting also had in attendance foreign affairs chiefs of the respective countries. Guelleh is reported to have expressed his joy at the recent lifting of sanctions by the United Nations Security Council on Eritrea.

“They discussed on areas of cooperation to both countries and in further strengthening their existing relationship. Furthermore, both parties discussed the need for addressing Djibouti-Eritrea relations mutually,” Abiy’s office added in a tweet.

Eritrea and Djibouti have agreed to resolve a decade-old diplomatic issue amicably. Leaders of both countries met in Saudi Arabia months back at the behest of the King of Saudi Arabia.

Landlocked Ethiopia’s imports and exports till recently were mostly taken through Djibouti whiles its diplomatic spat with Eritrea persisted. The July 2018 peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea has changed regional dynamics with a series of intra-country and regional peace deals.

The meeting with Guelleh was one of a series Abiy entered into after delivering his first address to the African Union earlier on Saturday. He also met with Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir and deputy United Nations Secretary-General Amina Mohammmed.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with the Prime Minister of Egypt on the margins of the African Union Extraordinary Summit, on November 18, 2018. Their discussions focused on strengthening existing bi-lateral relations and in particular on areas of mutual cooperation. #PMOEthiopia— Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) November 18, 2018

PM Abiy highlighted that digitization is important for Africa’s dev't, particularly noting how digital economies present significant opportunities for the continent with the right regulations and safeguards put in place.— Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) November 18, 2018

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in attendance at the AU-Economic Commission Side Event on “Digital Identity for the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is co-chair of the ECA Digital ID Initiative Advisory Board.— Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia (@PMEthiopia) November 18, 2018



Liberian Nobel Peace laureate awarded 2018 Bonn democracy prize

14 hours 27 minutes ago

Liberian activist and former Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Leymah Gbowee, has been awarded the 2018 Bonn International Democracy Prize.

She was announced winner in mid October 2018 but the award ceremony took place last Friday, November 16, 2018. The award comes with a 10,000 euro cash prize.

The latest award is for her continuous fight for the rights of Liberians and championing women worldwide, organizers said. Gbowee thus succeeds European Union chief Federica Mogherini, who was last awarded the prize in 2016.

Gbowee, founder of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, said she had accepted the prize: “on behalf of all women seeking to create peace and change in their communities.”

In 2011, she jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemen’s Tawakkol Karman.

The Bonn International Democracy Prize is awarded at least once every two years. It is awarded to a person or entity that has greatly contributed to democracy and human rights in their country.

The goal of the Bonn International Democracy Prize is to create a link between the successful experiences in Germany and international development and democratization.

The prize itself is a glass sculpture that was designed and produced by students from the public technical college for glass and ceramic work in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The former Czech president Václav Havel won the first prize in 2009 for his lifelong work. In 2010, The Iranian lawyer, human-rights activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi was awarded.


14 minutes 28 seconds ago
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